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United Nations High-Level Event on "Youth 2030". Image: UN Photo/Mark Garten.

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC) have launched the second edition of their Space4Youth competition. Under the title Space4Climate, this year's focus is on SDG 13, Climate Action. In order to participate, students and young professionals from any Member State of the United Nations are invited to submit an essay on the topic "Space as a tool to address climate challenges: examples from local communities" by 3 June 2020.

Climate change is the defining issue of our time. From shifting weather patterns to rising sea levels, the impact of climate change is global in scope and unprecedented in scale. Action is needed and young people play a key role. With this competition, UNOOSA and SGAC want to give a voice to and promote youth's ideas on how space, in all its aspects, can mitigate climate challenges. They are... read more

Publishing Date: 26/05/2020
Global monthly primary productivity. Image: ESA

A recent study has produced a 20-year time series of primary production by marine phytoplankton, one of the largest fluxes of carbon on our planet. Studying phytoplankton primary production is important because it provides useful information about ocean biology, climate, and global carbon cycle. Observing primary production over long-time scales or quantifying its small variations can help the scientific community to determine carbon dioxide concentrations, as well as the effect of climate variability on these processes. The study uses in -situ measurements and satellite data from the European Space... read more

Publishing Date: 11/05/2020
Image: USGS.

On 14 May, the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) hosted two sessions of a webinar on space applications to support global health, including to fight coronavirus. 

During the 90-minute sessions, experts from UNOOSA, as well as from other international organisations, governments and private sector companies operating in the space sector discussed how space applications can strengthen the capacity of all countries, in particular developing countries, for early warning, risk reduction and management of epidemics and other health risks. Particular attention was paid to the current coronavirus pandemic.

To find out more about space applications to fight the coronavirus, please visit the COVID-19 overview page here on the Knowledge Portal.

Presentations from the webinar are available on the... read more

Publishing Date: 08/05/2020
Earth Observation Toolkit for Sustainable Cities and Communities logo. Image: GEO

The Group of Earth Observations (GEO) and the United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat) have opened a call for expression of interest for the “Earth Observation Toolkit for Sustainable Cities and Communities” programme. This programme aims to support UN Member States in sustainable urban development by creating a customizable and continually updated toolkit that will integrate Earth observation and geospatial data with national statistics, socioeconomic information and other data. Through this project, GEO and... read more

Publishing Date: 22/04/2020
The TIROS-1 satellite. Image: NASA

On 1 April 1960, NASA sent the Television Infrared Observation Satellite (TIROS-1) into space. TIROS-1 was developed during the 1950s and, after years of experimental programmes and attempts, became the world’s first weather satellite. Since weather satellites were a new technology at that time, the mission also tested various design issues for spacecraft, such as instruments, data, and operational parameters, in order to improve satellite applications for Earth-bound decisions. TIROS-1 thus paved the way for further weather satellite development and research. Today, weather satellites provide highly accurate and near-real-time measurements that can efficiently monitor and forecast extreme weather events, such as floods and droughts, as well as enhance the understanding of the climate and... read more

Publishing Date: 16/04/2020
Custom Script Contest - COVID-19 edition logo. Image: Sentinel Hub

The European Space Agency (ESA), in coordination with the European Commission, is launching a special edition of the Custom Script Contest, focused on the support of space assets during the COVID-19 crisis, managed by Euro Data Cube group. The contest is looking for remote sensing experts, machine learning scientists and interested public to make proposals on how satellite data can help with observation of changes in economic operators, changes in human activity distribution and changes in agriculture activity, among other applications. The aim of the contest is to help mitigate the COVID-19 situation in the upcoming... read more

Publishing Date: 03/04/2020
GEO-KOMPSAT-2. Image: KARI

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Republic of Korea are working together on a global satellite constellation of three space-based instruments that could track global pollution on an hourly basis. These air quality satellites will measure pollutants, including ozone, nitrogen dioxide, formaldehyde and tiny atmospheric particles called aerosols in order to enhance our understanding of air quality and air pollution. To date, air quality satellites have collected... read more

Publishing Date: 30/03/2020
Winds imaged by Aeolus. Image: ESA

The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), after months of careful testing, has started to operationally assimilate data from the European Space Agency's Aeolus satellite in its daily weather forecasts. Aeolus measurements have been considered ready for operational use as early as 14 months after the satellite launch, which is unusual for data collected from a new type of satellite. Aelous provides accurate and near-real time measurements that can improve weather forecasting and contribute to better... read more

Publishing Date: 23/03/2020
Aftermath of Cyclone Idai in Mozambique in March 2019. Image: Denis Onyodi/IFRC/DRK/Climate Centre.

A new report lists extreme weather events and major natural disasters among the top five risks in terms of likelihood over the next decade. The Global Risks Report 2020, published by the World Economic Forum, is based on a survey of 750 global experts and decision-makers who ranked their concerns in terms of likelihood and impact. Climate action failure, biodiversity loss and human-made environmental disasters are also among the most prevalent risks, making it the first time that the report's top five risks in terms of likelihood are all environmental.

Failure of... read more

Publishing Date: 16/01/2020

Sentinel Hub’s Earth Observation (EO) browser is hosting its second round of contests for custom scripts to better visualize and analyze the Earth’s surface. EO Browser, developed by Sinergise in close cooperation with the European Space Agency (ESA), brings together petabytes of data from many satellite platforms - from ESA’s Copernicus programme to NASA’s Landsat missions.... read more

Publishing Date: 19/11/2019

Major disasters such as droughts and wildfires are driven by the dryness of vegetation. To enhance the monitoring of plant water stress, NASA launched and installed a new sensor on the International Space Station. ECOSTRESS (ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station) allows identifying loss of water in leaves- even before they show visible signs of trouble.

The image to the left shows a product derived from ECOSTRESS data, indicating that the forest fires during the 2019 Amazon dry season... read more

Publishing Date: 14/11/2019
Les Cayes, southern Haiti, 5 October 2016 after Hurricane Matthew has struck the area. Image: Jethro J. Sérémé / American Red Cross / IFRC.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) - the world's largest humanitarian organization - released a report estimating the growth of humanitarian need if current human activities continue. Published this month, "The Cost of Doing Nothing" paints a bleak picture of global need for humanitarian assistance doubling to 200 million. The price tag, the report projects, could come to $20 billion annually. 

The report is a collaboration between IFRC and leading environmental scientists and economists and takes into account global growth rates, inequality, demographics and climate. The IFRC cautions that inaction now will result in the need for a massive increase in humanitarian aid to combat climate-related disasters and their socioeconomic impact. Key findings of the report show that current human activities will lead to escalating suffering and ballooning costs. The report also warns that its dire findings are likely... read more

Publishing Date: 24/09/2019
FSSCat. Image: UPC.

The European Space Agency (ESA) has announced the launch of a new satellite that will use artificial intelligence to filter images unsuitable for future use. The Phi Satellite (ɸ-Sat-1), presented at the ESA Phi-week from 9 to 12 September, will make data delivery more efficient by not sending back to Earth acquisitions with high cloud cover. Currently, the process of filtering images for cloud cover is done after the images are received on the ground, meaning that a number of images sent to Earth are not useful.

In 2017, the federated satellite system 6U tandem mission for sea ice and soil moisture monitoring (FSSCat) idea, which... read more

Publishing Date: 23/09/2019
The above map shows the distribution of women of reproductive age (ages 18-49) spread across Tanzania, drawn from a combination of census data and satellite imagery. Image: Facebook.

Facebook has published new population density maps covering most of the African continent and countries of the Asia-Pacific region in June 2019. Using artificial intelligence (AI), these maps help organizations to respond to natural disasters, and scientists to assess the impact of climate change and urbanization on people’s lives. As soon as almost the entire world population is covered by the project, population distribution in remote areas will be better determinable by humanitarian agencies. In that way, health workers will be able to better reach households and relief workers to better distribute aid. 

For its population density maps, Facebook used a combination of machine learning techniques, high resolution... read more

Publishing Date: 16/07/2019
Representatives of UN-SPIDER Regional Support Offices and observer organizations..

Representatives from the network of UN-SPIDER Regional Support Offices (RSO) convene in Vienna for the 9th Annual RSO Coordination Meeting from 18 to 19 June. Held at the United Nations Offices in Vienna, the meeting provides the 23 RSOs the opportunity to propose concrete ways in which they, respectively, could further collaborate with UN-SPIDER and also with other RSOs. The event is a forum for discussion of innovative approaches to disaster management using space-based technologies.

At the meeting, RSO representatives... read more

Publishing Date: 18/06/2019
Participants of the Second Multi-Hazard Early Warning Conference (MHEWC-II). Image: WMO.

Held on 13 and 14 May in Geneva, the Second Multi-Hazard Early Warning Conference (MHEWC-II) called for further strengthening of multi-hazard early warning systems (MHEWS) as part of... read more

Publishing Date: 23/05/2019
Mississippi River floods in April and May 2011.

A new publication presents 30 innovation products and approaches for disaster risk reduction, ranging from GIS and... read more

Publishing Date: 16/05/2019
Areas flooded and damaged following cyclone Idai, northwest of Beira.

A new United Nations report calls for urgent action on disaster risk reduction to protect progress towards eradication of poverty and hunger, and action on... read more

Publishing Date: 16/05/2019
The map depicts global temperature anomalies in 2018.

New satellite data from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) confirms that 2015 to 2018 were the four hottest years on record. The findings echo the results of recent reports by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

The Atmospheric Infrared... read more

Publishing Date: 06/05/2019
Cover of SAR Handbook: Comprehensive Methodologies for Forest Monitoring and Biomass Estimation. Image: SERVIR GLOBAL.

SERVIR, a joint development initiative of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and SilvaCarbon, a U.S. government programme working to enhance capacity around the world in monitoring and managing forests, have announced the release of the “Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Handbook: Comprehensive Methodologies for Forest Monitoring and Biomass Estimation.” The publication brings together methods and theoretical background to facilitate the use of  SAR data for forest monitoring and biomass estimation.

The SAR Handbook is... read more

Publishing Date: 15/04/2019
Visualization of the GPM Core Observatory satellite orbiting the planet earth.

Five years ago, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched the Global... read more

Publishing Date: 02/04/2019
Mapping Cyclone Pam’s destruction with drones.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has published a new report about the use and opportunities of ICT and disruptive technologies for disaster risk reduction and management. The publication was announced during the third ITU Global Forum on Emergency Telecommunications, which took place from 6 to 8 March 2019 in Balaclava, Mauritius.

The study finds that technological advancement and innovation are creating new opportunities for enhancing disaster... read more

Publishing Date: 25/03/2019
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres with youth attendees of the high-level event on Youth2030, New York, 24 September 2018. Image: UN Photo/Mark Garten.

To support the first priority of the 'Youth 2030' strategy, namely "Engagement, Participation and Advocacy to Amplify youth voices for the promotion of a peaceful, just and sustainable world", the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs decided to launch the Space for Youth Competition together with the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC).

What are the objectives of this competition?

  • To engage youth in the global discussion by gathering examples of space supporting Sustainable Development Goals

  • To amplify the voices of youth in space to the members of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space

  • To bring the perspectives of youth on how space is supporting Sustainable Development Goals

Do you have an idea on how to use space to... read more

Publishing Date: 04/03/2019

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